MARION – Illinois continues to be a magnet for lawsuit abuse and remains the home to one of the nation’s worst “judicial hellholes,” according to the annual “Judicial Hellholes” report released Thursday by the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF). The report named Madison County one of the “Five Worst Judicial Hellholes” in the country.
ATRF defines a “Judicial Hellhole” as “a place where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner.”
“For far too long, Illinois has been a magnet for personal injury lawyers and plaintiffs from all over the country who clog our courts with junk lawsuits that have nothing to do with Illinois, all in the hopes of striking it rich playing our state’s plaintiff-friendly lawsuit lottery,” said Akin. “Greedy personal injury lawyers have turned the ‘Land of Lincoln’ into the ‘Land of Lawsuits,’ and that is hurting job creation efforts throughout Illinois.”
Akin added, “Far too often judges here allow cases to proceed with plaintiffs who have no connection to Illinois. This kind of abuse clogs Illinois courts, wasting taxpayer resources and delaying justice for people with legitimate claims.”
Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed lawsuit reform legislation that includes a proposal that will stop personal injury lawyers from shopping around for the friendliest court jurisdiction, even if the lawsuit has nothing to do with that jurisdiction. This practice, often called “venue shopping,” is all too common in Madison County, according to the “Judicial Hellholes” report.
Akin explained, “It’s just common sense to require lawsuits filed in Illinois to have an actual connection to Illinois, and yet in Madison County, 98% of the asbestos lawsuits filed there are for plaintiffs who do not live in that county. That is an absurd misuse of our courts and our tax dollars, and it victimizes all of us.
Akin continued, “We need to create jobs in Illinois, not more lawsuits, which is why I-LAW applauds Governor Rauner for taking the lead to weed out junk lawsuits here and restore fairness to our courts. Governor Rauner’s reasonable, common sense lawsuit reforms will create jobs and unclog our courts, which will speed the legal process for those with legitimate claims.
Akin concluded, “Illinoisans should contact their legislators and ask them if they will stand with the personal injury lawyers, who are the only ones who profit from this unfair system, or the small businesses and individual citizens who are far too frequently targets of unfair frivolous lawsuits and are made to pay for personal injury lawyer greed, We need to stop the personal injury lawyers from gaming the system at our expense. By standing up to the personal injury lawyers and passing common sense lawsuit reforms, legislators will restore fairness to Metro-East courts, stop lawsuit abuse, create jobs, and put money back in consumers’ pockets.”
For more information on the “Judicial Hellholes” report and I-LAW’s efforts to restore common sense and fairness to Metro-East courts, visit I-LAW’s website at www.ILLawsuitAbuseWatch.org.